I am at a point where my child is graduating and going away to college. I am an only child and have been living with my dad who is 75 for the past few years as I had to come back home after my divorce. Let me backtrack some.

My mom passed away in 2007 and at that point, I had a discussion with my dad and we both thought it would be best if he sold the home since he was by himself and the house is huge and requires a lot of upkeep. I guess because of an emotional attachment and also that's all he was use to for the past 40 years, he never moved forward. After mom passed, it seems that he found a new lease on life and began to travel and date which I wasn't happy with at all, but sat by silently because whatever it took to get him through as it was hard on us both.

Now fast forward to current. My dad was extremely active and would enjoy going to casinos, hanging out with his good friends until about 3 years ago when he became ill. He had prostate cancer and made it through that and bounced back. Then about a year later, he had trouble breathing and luckily I was home to call 911 and the doctor stated that he had suffered a heart attack and my dad refused to believe that because he said he didn't have any chest pains. The doctor explained that's not always a symptom and a few months later he had a successful procedure using balloon stents and advised that he stop smoking also.

Shortly thereafter, he began having problems with his hip and lower back and has refused to go in for treatment because he does not want surgery. He has tried injections that didn't work and when it was time to go in for a follow up evaluation, he refused to go. I even attempted to reschedule and reason with him and again it was a no. He wanted to do research online for a natural way of healing. Well that research has been going on for nearly 2 years and he has refused to even attempt to stop smoking and due to his back problem, I have to wait on him hand and foot. It's hard to believe that a few short years ago, he was so active, cooking his own meals and now he relies on me for every little thing.

I am concerned as he is not keeping up with his daily hygiene as he should which he use to take so much pride in and now rarely showers or leave his spot or should I say dent he has made in his chair. From sun up to sun down, he sits, watches tv and that's it. I feel so guilty about wanting to move, but I have a great opportunity and I'm not getting any younger myself and would like to travel and enjoy life. I would like for my dad to get the medical help he needs so that he can get back to the activities he use to and I would still be sad to leave, but at least know that he is able to take care of himself. He has at some point mentioned a retirement home, but it was more of a guilt tactic than actually being serious. I feel as though by me continuing to wait on him hand and foot, he will not take any steps to get better. My older son will be staying with him and I hate for all of that responsibility to now fall on him as well. Any advice is welcome. Thank you and God bless.

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Go live your life! Lucky you! I am an only child with a horribly negative 76 year old mom living a few doors down. She's made horrible choices for the past several years and now living with the consequences. If I had a reasonable opportunity to get away from her I would jump on it. Life's short and we "children" are aging as well. It sounds like you have tried to do the right thing.
Helpful Answer (2)

Although your dad isn’t terribly old it sounds as if his slow decline has begun. An ailment comes, he weathers it and gets better, then the next ailment comes and he comes back from it...

Hip and lower back is a game changer, I don’t disagree with his hesitation about surgical remedies. The surgery doesn’t relieve the pain, mobility is still limited and then it’s a frustrating situation.

But he can do housework and cook. No more party animal but he could do most everything he needs to do. He’s gotten spoiled and prematurely at that because you moved in when he was younger.

Don’t desert your son with your dad. Younger caregivers don’t know how to defend themselves yet, from the guilt feelings and frustration because they want a young person’s life of course.

Try your son out but before you go, have an assisted living facility in mind, a place your dad can go when your son gets his opportunity.
Helpful Answer (1)

Thank you all so much for your input. It felt really good to type everything out since I really don't have anyone to talk to regarding the issue. Blannie, you are absolutely right in regards to my son staying with my dad. He currently resides here in the home as well and it's so frustrating because the two of them enable one another. My dad will convince my son to buy packs of cigarettes and vice versa. I really want to make sure they are stable financially, but as you said I do need to live my life. I have been doing above and beyond for years and just need a break as it is bringing me down emotionally as well.
97yroldmom, I am researching senior housing as I type this. And you are correct, he seems to be in a funk because I know that he misses those things that he use to enjoy and feels helpless, but just won't take those steps so I may need to encourage him to do so. I am so thankful, grateful to have found this site.
Helpful Answer (5)

Your dad is a Social person by nature the way you describe him. For that reason alone I would really encourage him to move to senior housing. Good he is away from the casinos and all that smoke but he sounds depressed. What he’s doing isn’t working for him so not much to lose by encouraging him to make a change.
Helpful Answer (3)

"I feel as though by me continuing to wait on him hand and foot, he will not take any steps to get better."

You hit the nail on the head with that sentence! Time for you to be in an environment that brings you joy, not just what is most convenient for your dad.
Helpful Answer (9)

Well, you have to live your life. Even with you there, your dad has continued to do what he wanted to do and has ignored your suggestions for healthier living. It sounds like he's still of sound mind, but making poor decisions regarding his health, which he can do. I'd explain you were moving and now is the time to get him into a living situation where he can thrive and not just exist. He needs to be around others, which he would be in either assisted living or independent living. I wouldn't have your son stay with him or the situation will continue on as it is - which isn't really the best for your dad's long-term physical and mental health or your son's.

Now is the perfect time to push the issue, triggered by your desire to move. Don't let your dad guilt you into staying - you've already done your caregiving time and have every right to live your life. Dad can make his own decisions about what he wants to do.
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